DORCHESTER, Mass. — East Boston (3-2) got tripped up in the first round of the Shooting Touch Shootout with a 59-54 loss to Bishop Loughlin (N.Y.) yesterday at the Kroc Center.
It wasn’t the performance that head coach Malcolm Smith has come to know from a program that has produced gritty, heady, defensive teams that locks down opponents and forces them to play at the Jets’ frantic pace.
Smith saw that for spurts, but didn’t see that team on a consistent basis yesterday.
The Jets were forced into 21 turnovers, several of them unforced and silly giveaways, and offensively they lacked any type of flow as only Will March (12 points) and Zack Gattereau (11 points) reached double figures.
“We were sloppy from the beginning of the game to the end of the game,” said an emotionally frustrated Smith after the game. “That was a poor performance. Anybody that has been associated with East Boston basketball knows that that was a poor performance.”
What made the game even more maddening for Eastie was the fact that it was still in the game until the very end.
Bishop Loughlin went on a 11-0 run that stretched from the end of the third quarter to the beginning of the fourth, but the Jets mounted with 12 of the next 13 points to grab a 53-52 lead with 2:08 left in the quarter.
Kenny Ramos had his hands all over a rebound, but some how it slipped through his grasp and right into the waiting arms of Khadeen Carrington, who scored a game-high 21 points, for a lay-in to take back the one-point advantage.
The Jets came right back down the next play and had a costly turnover and after a timeout, Michael Williams got free on the inbounds play all alone behind the Jets defense for the two possession advantage.
“I don’t know if it was the nerves of this crowd or what,” said Smith. “We didn’t deserve to win that game. We didn’t deserve to be that close at all. It was turnover after turnover.”
Shywann Spencer sunk two clinching free throws with 18.1 seconds on the clock to officially stamp home the win and a date against Hudson Catholic (N.J.) in the championship round tomorrow back at the Kroc Center.
“I’m not taking any positives out of this game,” said Smith. “That team beat us and they deserved to win.”
WHISTLES, WHISTLES AND MORE WHISTLES
There were no shortage of whistles for physical play and handchecking during the game as East Boston finished the night with 26 calls against them, while Bishop Loughlin finished with 17.
When Eastie did get to the line, they couldn’t connect and finished 9-of-21 from the stripe.